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November 10, 2005

From the Publisher

No, no, no, no, Arnold!


Any election surprises? Only a few in my book.

I am always a tiny bit shocked that local voters are often more ah, extreme? than the rest of the California voters. Note that we voted 2-to-1 to easily defeat all of the ballot measures, several of which nearly passed statewide. I ran into plenty of cranky voters recently who said, "Why are we wasting money having this election now? Couldn't these measures wait until next June?"

Of course it was a power play by the governor that failed big time on the North Coast. However, unions can take little comfort in the closeness of Proposition 75 statewide. (Prop. 75, leading in the early returns, was eventually defeated as well.)

Several of the Journal's editorial staff picked the top two winners in the Northern Humboldt Union High School District the popular triathlete-turned-real-estate-agent Mike Pigg and the well respected, veteran educator Sarie Toste. The surprise in this race was the third spot that went to the young, energetic, articulate Shane Brinton, who earlier proclaimed himself a communist and a Marxist in a plea-for-money letter to film director Michael Moore. Brinton narrowly edged out his targeted opponent, developer Dan Johnson. (See "Communist blasts developer" Aug. 11.) His presence should make for some interesting school board meetings. Brinton did raise some issues that need further scrutiny sex education and military recruiting on campus.

As readers may recall, the local progressive political action committee, Local Solutions, failed to back Brinton after the Journal article appeared, although he had the support of many area liberals. The PAC tried to flex its muscle by backing Don Avant, Rebecca Bair Kurwitz and Steve Cole three who finished far down in the crowded pack.

As a PAC, Local Solutions did a little better in the McKinleyville Community Services District race. Bill Wennerholm, a chiropractor and the only incumbent, was the top vote getter, a strong vote of confidence from the community. He had blasted Local Solutions for endorsing Jeff Dunk and Javan Reid, two progressive, pro-planners who ran in tandem and finished together for the second and third open seats.

With the election of that trio, McKinleyville turns ever slightly more progressive at a critical time. Senate Bill 135, which the governor just signed in September, has given the biggest non-city in Humboldt County significant new city-like powers, which it will undoubtedly be flexing.

The results for the two open seats on the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District were also no surprise. The liberal 3rd District (Arcata) got even more liberal. There was little political difference between the incumbent Ron Fritzsche and the successful challenger Mike Wilson. Voters simply went for the fresh face, one who promised to work on the trail system around the bay.

Dennis Hunter managed to hang on to his seat in the not-so-liberal 4th District (Eureka), defeating a surprisingly strong challenge from Maggy Herbelin.


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